CONCORD, N.C. – William Byron gave the local fans something to cheer about Thursday evening at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Byron, a native of Charlotte, N.C., earned the pole for the 60th Coca-Cola 600 during qualifying Thursday. His 29.440-second lap at 183.424 mph made him the youngest driver to win the pole for the Coca-Cola 600.
“It’s a dream come true to qualify on the pole,” said 21-year-old Byron after his second pole of the season. “I grew up coming to this race as a kid, and it’s unbelievable now to be back here and on top after qualifying, knowing we’re going to lead the field to green on Sunday night. This is pretty cool and I can’t think of a better way to start the weekend.”
The sophomore driver, who wheels the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, is in his first year working with crew chief Chad Knaus, who guided Jimmie Johnson to four Coca-Cola 600 wins before moving over to Byron’s team this season.
Byron noted that he feels like the duo is beginning to find their stride.
“Just the dialogue that Chad and I have, in the hauler and the transporter … and everything that we go back and forth on is where the speed is coming from,” Byron noted. “That continues to get better and the cars continue to get faster as well, and when you have that it really shows, for sure.”
Aric Almirola qualified second for Stewart-Haas Racing, falling .057 of a second short of Byron’s lap. Kyle Busch, the defending Coca-Cola 600 race winner, qualified third fastest in his Toyota.
Austin Dillon, the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 winner, qualified fourth for Richard Childress Racing. Kevin Harvick gave Stewart-Haas Racing two cars in the top-five with his fifth-place qualifying effort.
Daniel Suarez, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Daniel Hemric completed the top-10 in Cup Series qualifying.
For the fourth time this season, a full field of 40 cars were on hand to attempt to qualify.